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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 April 2024 - 12 April 2024

2024 Apr 10

Sci Transl Med




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A mouse model of chronic primary pain that integrates clinically relevant genetic vulnerability, stress, and minor injury.


Wang Y, Kim SH, Klein ME, Chen J, Gu E, Smith S, Bortsov A, Slade GD, Zhang X, Nackley AG


Chronic primary pain conditions (CPPCs) affect over 100 million Americans, predominantly women. They remain ineffectively treated, in large part because of a lack of valid animal models with translational relevance. Here, we characterized a CPPC mouse model that integrated clinically relevant genetic (catechol-O-methyltransferase; COMT knockdown) and environmental (stress and injury) factors. Compared with wild-type mice, mice undergoing repeated swim stress and molar extraction surgery intervention exhibited pronounced multisite body pain and depressive-like behavior lasting >3 months. mice undergoing the intervention also exhibited enhanced activity of primary afferent nociceptors innervating hindpaw and low back sites and increased plasma concentrations of norepinephrine and pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-17A. The pain and depressive-like behavior were of greater magnitude and longer duration (≥12 months) in females versus males. Furthermore, increases in anxiety-like behavior and IL-6 were female-specific. The effect of COMT genotype × stress interactions on pain, IL-6, and IL-17A was validated in a cohort of 549 patients with CPPCs, demonstrating clinical relevance. Last, we assessed the predictive validity of the model for analgesic screening and found that it successfully predicted the lack of efficacy of minocycline and the CB2 agonist GW842166X, which were effective in spared nerve injury and complete Freund’s adjuvant models, respectively, but failed in clinical trials. Yet, pain in the CPPC model was alleviated by the beta-3 adrenergic antagonist SR59230A. Thus, the CPPC mouse model reliably recapitulates clinically and biologically relevant features of CPPCs and may be implemented to test underlying mechanisms and find new therapeutics.